It has been a dismal start to the season for the Indianapolis Colts in 2015, as they are 0-2 and the lowest-scoring offense in the league. There have been positives, however, and perhaps the biggest positive of them all has been the emergence of rookie Henry Anderson.
Many (including myself) loved the pick from the moment the Colts drafted Anderson in the third round (93rd overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft, but once Arthur Jones went down with a season-ending ankle injury, there were questions about whether Anderson would be able to produce while filling in. Those questions aren't there anymore, as Anderson has proven himself through the first two weeks as a playmaker.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranked the top twenty rookies so far in the 2015 season (though it's only been two weeks), and Anderson obviously made his list, coming in at number five:
"I'll be the first to say I underrated Anderson if he keeps this up. Upside was a big part of the question -- he's already 24 -- but he doesn't need to improve at all to be one of the top rookies at this rate. He'll have the splash plays but should be steady (particularly against the run) in the mean time."
Anderson comes in behind only Marcus Peters (Chiefs), Marcus Mariota (Titans), Mitch Morse (Chiefs), and Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) - three of whom were first round picks. Looking at it another way, Anderson is the second-most impressive defensive rookie so far, according to Kiper. Anderson was the only Colts player to make the list of the top twenty rookies so far, but fellow defensive lineman David Parry, also drafted by the Colts out of Stanford and also a starter, was among eight players not ranked but also considered for the list.
There is little doubt about it: Henry Anderson has been one of the best rookies in this class early on in the 2015 season, and that's incredibly good news for the Colts. Their defense has looked better against the run in the first two games, and a big reason for that can be attributed to Anderson making plays. Through two games, Anderson has made 14 tackles and a sack, and he is tied for the most tackles in the league among defensive linemen (tied with J.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, and Michael Brockers). According to Pro Football Focus, Anderson has recorded 11 stops so far this year, defined as "solo defensive tackles made which constitute an offensive failure (including sacks)". The only defensive lineman with more? J.J. Watt (Aaron Donald is tied with Anderson with 11).
Anderson has been a huge contributor to the Colts' defense and has made some big plays in the run game, not only looking like the Colts' best draft pick but also looking like one of the best rookies in the entire NFL. Mel Kiper agrees, and through two weeks, he has Anderson at number five on his most impressive rookies.